Insecurity: China urges Nigeria to address poverty, under-development

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria stated this on Thursday.

China has called on Nigeria to address the root causes of insecurity such as poverty and underdevelopment to ensure peace and stability in the country.

The Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria, Deng Boqing, also urged Nigeria not to rely on military solution alone in the fight against insurgency in the country.

“Sometimes, people feel compelled to resort to armed forces to seek for peace. This method cannot win the fight for peace; the fight for peace cannot be won through war.

“Indeed, there are no sure winners in war as it is a matter of life and death. So, armed forces alone can hardly win the war or address the root causes of conflict,’’ he said.

Mr. Boqing made the remark on Thursday in Abuja at the “International Conference on Traditional Methods of Conflict Resolution: Chinese and Nigerian Perspective”.

He said the best solution to Nigeria’s internal security problems still remained the home-grown methods of conflict resolution as against the modern military method.

The envoy observed that to achieve peace and stability in the country, government must address the root causes of insecurity such as poverty and underdevelopment.

Mr. Boqing said that China had its fair share of internal conflicts in its more than 5,000 years of history but pointed out that it had been able to overcome it through development and welfare for its citizens.

“The main causes of conflict are poverty and underdevelopment, especially the lack of basic necessities. The best way to resolve conflicts is to address its root causes,’’ he said.

“One of the best concepts for addressing conflict is through harmony but harmony can only be achieved when people are free from hunger and starvation and have tolerance or even appreciation of diversity,’’ he said.

In her remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, regretted the extent of destruction caused by violent conflicts in the country, noting that no meaningful development could be achieved through violence.

Ms. Onwuliri, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Bala Gusau, said that a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria could only be achieved through constant sensitisation initiatives to remind all stakeholders of their roles and responsibilities.

“The ministry of foreign affairs, as the national focal point of Nigeria’s foreign policy, aligns itself to the genuine needs and aspirations of the citizenry for a peaceful and prosperous country.

“This would be attainable when we collectively take proactive and constructive measures to ensure that communities and interest groups live together in peace and harmony.

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“It further entails the readiness of the citizens to realise and take up their responsibilities in building a nation state,’’ she said.

The chairman of the occasion, Simeon Ajibola, noted that China, with a population of about 1.3 billion people, had had a peaceful rise.

Mr. Ajibola, a senator, said that Nigeria, with just a population of about 170 million people, had a lot to learn from her.

Representative of the traditional institution, the Emir of Suleja, Awwal Ibrahim, said that traditional rulers had a better understanding and ways of settling disputes among their subjects and that the institution had a crucial role to play in dispute resolution.

The Director-General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Joseph Golwa, said that there was increasing call by stakeholders for the revival of the indigenous methods of dispute resolution.

Mr. Golwa explained that indigenous methods of dispute resolution, in most cases, were culturally friendly and people-driven and that the conference was aimed at, among other things, sharing experiences with China.

He, however, called on the international community to appreciate Nigeria’s peculiarities in terms of its history, challenges and the enormous strength, resources and efforts, to rise above its challenges.

“As the `centre of the universe’, China’s humble development is not only a lesson to Africa, but a challenge to not rely on `handouts’ from foreigners; Africa must define her path to greatness within the human family,’’ he said.

The conference, organised by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in collaboration with IPCR, has participants from the security agencies, traditional institutions, the academics and the diplomatic corps.



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